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Beyond Ratings or Quality. Surpassing the Dilemma of Entertainment in Public Broadcasting
Unformatted Document Text:  12 emotions of the audience, appealing to the curiosity of the audience), (4) characteristics of program makers (clarity of purpose and passion), (5) audience reaction, and (6) innovativeness, originality, adventurousness, and cultural appropriateness (1996, p. 146). Both lists can be combined in the following general checklist, which, as Leggatt (1996b:167) argued, can be used to assess each program in terms of its quality: 1. Were the craft skills that went into the making of the program of a high standard? 2. Was the program adequately resourced? 3. Was it serious and truthful? 4. Was it relevant to the concerns of the day? 5. Did the story-telling touch the emotions? 6. Did it appeal to curiosity/provoke thought? 7. Did the program maker have a clear objective? And push through to achieve it? 8. Had he/she a passion/commitment that gave energy to the program? 9. Was the program innovative, original, or adventurous? 10. How did the audience react to it – in appreciation as well as numbers? Although this is certainly a useful and even inspiring checklist, it has two drawbacks. First, it starts from an absolute notion of quality that can be determined independently of genre, audience, or the intention of the maker. In addition, the list suggests that the best programs meet all criteria and that hence quality is rare. Moreover, the discourse analysis of our interviews with TV professionals suggests that in actual practice program makers rely on more refined, yet largely implicit conceptions of quality. Five Quality Vocabularies When analyzing the expert interview transcripts, we made use of a qualitative method ‘interpretive repertoire analysis’ (Potter and Wetherell, 1987). Rather than treating the transcripts as individual statements, we analyzed them in terms of the distinct vocabularies that were explicitly and implicitly used. This analytic procedure enabled us to identify various ‘repertoires’: consistent patterns of speech used as building blocks for constructing versions of actions, cognitive processes, and other ideologically charged phenomena. This form of discourse analysis is organized around the study of patterns and variations in content, and it works towards an understanding of the (social) function of the use of particular interpretive frames or vocabularies. Discursive repertoires are important conceptual tools for making sense of everyday dilemmas. This does not mean that repertoires only exist in speech and

Authors: Meijer, Irene.
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emotions of the audience, appealing to the curiosity of the audience), (4)
characteristics of program makers (clarity of purpose and passion), (5) audience
reaction, and (6) innovativeness, originality, adventurousness, and cultural
appropriateness (1996, p. 146). Both lists can be combined in the following general
checklist, which, as Leggatt (1996b:167) argued, can be used to assess each
program in terms of its quality:
1. Were the craft skills that went into the making of the program of
a high standard?
2. Was the program adequately resourced?
3. Was it serious and truthful?
4. Was it relevant to the concerns of the day?
5. Did the story-telling touch the emotions?
6. Did it appeal to curiosity/provoke thought?
7. Did the program maker have a clear objective? And push
through to achieve it?
8. Had he/she a passion/commitment that gave energy to the
program?
9. Was the program innovative, original, or adventurous?
10. How did the audience react to it – in appreciation as well as
numbers?
Although this is certainly a useful and even inspiring checklist, it has two drawbacks.
First, it starts from an absolute notion of quality that can be determined independently
of genre, audience, or the intention of the maker. In addition, the list suggests that
the best programs meet all criteria and that hence quality is rare. Moreover, the
discourse analysis of our interviews with TV professionals suggests that in actual
practice program makers rely on more refined, yet largely implicit conceptions of
quality.
Five Quality Vocabularies
When analyzing the expert interview transcripts, we made use of a qualitative
method ‘interpretive repertoire analysis’ (Potter and Wetherell, 1987). Rather than
treating the transcripts as individual statements, we analyzed them in terms of the
distinct vocabularies that were explicitly and implicitly used. This analytic procedure
enabled us to identify various ‘repertoires’: consistent patterns of speech used as
building blocks for constructing versions of actions, cognitive processes, and other
ideologically charged phenomena. This form of discourse analysis is organized
around the study of patterns and variations in content, and it works towards an
understanding of the (social) function of the use of particular interpretive frames or
vocabularies. Discursive repertoires are important conceptual tools for making sense
of everyday dilemmas. This does not mean that repertoires only exist in speech and


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